Buster's handmade boat, The Damfino, is finished and is, of course, too large to get through the basement door. When he drives off with it in tow, the side of his house, then the whole thing, collapses. At the harbor he rides the boat out only to have it sink beneath him. The rest is a series of adventures he and his family have with the restored boat. This funny short has some good subtile gags plus the usual slapstick and gadgets.
July 14, 2008 Subject:
Glad this one survived
This was one of the films James Mason found when he bought Buster's house in 1952; the early part of this print shows just how far the damage to the nitrate film had progressed. Luckily they were able to save it for posterity and you can still see most of what's going on even in the damaged parts.
This was a remarkable job of film preservation. Thank you!
There is the famous scene of Buster riding the sinking boat down after its failed launch, and the word play of the boat's name, "Damfino," which probably pushed the envelope as far as the censor boards were concerned back then.
This film also has some other good points, not least of which is watching the former child comedian do routines with a child. Unfortunately, the kids, particularly the older one, weren't credited, so I don't know who they were now and whether they went on to develop careers of their own in the movies; but the scene where the older boy gets trapped in the boat's chimney, goes overboard, and has to be rescued by Buster, who not only doesn't really rescue the boy but almost drowns himself in the process, is a classic.
The scene where the boat is rolling over and over reminds me of the submarine scene in "The Navigator," though it lasts much longer.
And according to the Internet Movie Database, the telegraph operator who gets Buster's distress call is none other than Eddie Cline in an uncredited role.
There's a little bit of a dark touch here, both during the second time Buster rides the sinking boat down, when he really does disappear for a little while, and later on when the family stumbles out onto unseen land in the darkness. Of course, they have to land somewhere to set up the final punch line, but the darkness seems a little excessive. That's the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. It's still a good comedy and very enjoyable.